STATEWIDE PLANNING PROGRAM
Date: September 2004
EDA PUBLIC WORKS IN
RHODE ISLAND, 1996-2000
STATEWIDE PLANNING PROGRAM
Rhode Island Department of Administration
One Capitol Hill
Providence, Rhode Island 02908-5870
The Statewide Planning Program, Rhode Island Department of Administration, is
established by Chapter 42-11 of the General Laws as the central planning agency for state
government. The work of the Program is guided by the State Planning Council, comprised of
state, local, and public representatives and federal and other advisors.
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state; (2) to coordinate activities of the public and private sectors within this framework of
policies and programs; (3) to assist local governments in management, finance, and planning;
and (4) to advise the Governor and others concerned on physical, social, and economic topics.
This Technical Paper is one of a series prepared by the Statewide Planning Program.
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Contact the Statewide Planning Program, One Capitol Hill, Providence, RI (401) 222-
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also be made available as an electronic file.
TITLE: EDA Public Works in Rhode Island, 1996-2000
A performance assessment of projects funded by the U.S.
Department of Commerce, Economic Development
DATE: September 2004
AGENCY Statewide Planning Program
Rhode Island Department of Administration
SOURCE OF One Capitol Hill
COPIES: Providence, RI 02908
SERIES NO.: Technical Paper 156
NO. OF PAGES:
41, plus two appendices
This technical report presents the results of a survey of nine
EDA-funded projects that were priority listed in Rhode
Island’s Overall Economic Development Program (OEDP) or
the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
(CEDS). Examined are the impacts of the projects on job
generation, wages, and promotion of other development, as
well as process-related issues such as selection criteria,
grant awards, project location, and commitment from the
private sector. Changes in the CEDS application process
are suggested to enhance performance in both process and
In 1971, the State Planning Council assumed responsibility as the State of
Rhode Island’s Overall Economic Development Program (OEDP) Committee.
Four years later the first annual report appeared that established a priority
ranking system to screen projects being proposed for funding by the U.S.
Economic Development Administration (EDA). Each project would attain points
based on criteria measuring job development potential, area of influence,
environmental considerations, completion of necessary studies, availability of
non-federal matching funds, and recent fluctuations in employment levels. The
scores obtained would be the basis of a project’s priority ranking, the highest
scores attaining the highest priority.
This system is still the basis of project selection in Rhode Island.
Remarkably, while categories within the criteria are periodically revised to reflect
changing conditions or to enhance their effectiveness in choosing the best
projects, the criteria at their core have remained the same. However, while
Rhode Island has nearly thirty years of practice selecting projects for priority
listing, there has not been a performance evaluation to see how well, or how
poorly, the projects meet their economic development objectives once funded
and implemented. That is the purpose of this technical paper.
EDA Public Works in Rhode Island, 1996-2000 is a survey that begins
with the OEDP project solicitation of 1995, ends with the Comprehensive
Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) solicitation of 1999, and assesses the
impact of the projects on employment, wages and economic spin-off through
This technical paper was written by Bruce F. Vild, Supervising Planner,
and Joyce S. Karger, Principal Planner, of the Economic Development Planning
Section of the Statewide Planning Program. It was prepared for publication
under Task 2101, as described in the Work Program for the Statewide Planning
Program for state fiscal year 2004. State appropriations and a grant from the
EDA under Section 203 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of
1965, as amended, supported this work.
The authors of this paper would like to thank the following individuals who
were willing to provide information about the projects undertaken by their
communities, agencies or nonprofits: Kathryn Callan, Providence Performing
Arts Center; Nancy Carrott, R.I. Economic Development Corporation; Alan
Goodwin, City of Newport; Roberta Bell Hourigan, Heritage Harbor Museum;
Michael Lepore, City of Providence; David Maher and Michael DeLuca, City of
Cranston; Joel Mathews, City of Woonsocket; and Linda Soderberg, R.I.
Department of Labor and Training.
We also acknowledge the assistance of Stephen Grady and Cassandra
Lighty from the Philadelphia Office of the EDA in obtaining information about
EDA grant awards and non-federal matching funds for the period surveyed.
This paper incorporates a system whereby notes and references are cited
by a number in double parentheses. These numbers correspond to the citations
in the Notes and References beginning on page 33. Under this system, quoted
or paraphrased material from the ninth reference would be cited ((9)).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Tables
List of Figures
Part One: INTRODUCTION 1
Statewide Planning’s review and need for follow-up 2
Focus of our research 3
Part Two: SELECTION OF PROJECTS FOR REVIEW 5
Part Three: ASSESSMENT OF THE OEDP/CEDS PROCESS 7
Question 1: How high did the projects funded by the EDA score relative 8
to other OEDP or CEDS proposals that year?
Question 2: On what criteria did the projects score the most points? 8
Question 3: How did the EDA funds awarded actually compare with the 9
amount on the OEDP or CEDS application?
Question 4: How many projects had a share of the match from private 11
Question 5: Where were the projects located? 12
Part Four: PROJECT PERFORMANCE, ONCE FUNDED AND IMPLEMENTED 14
Did community employment figures improve? What was the contribution 14
of each project?
How do the actual job generation figures compare with those anticipated 16
from the OEDP and CEDS applications?
What was the impact of the project on wages? 19
Have the projects promoted other development? 20
Part Five: RECOMMENDED CHANGES IN THE CEDS APPLICATION PROCESS 30
Findings: Job generation 31
Findings: Wages 32
Other findings 32
NOTES AND REFERENCES 33
Appendix A: SUMMARY OF OEDP/CEDS PRIORITY SYSTEM FOR RANKING A-1
Appendix B: APPLYING MULTIPLIERS: A SAMPLE CALCULATION B-1
LIST OF TABLES
1 OEDP/CEDS Projects in Rhode Island Funded by the EDA, 1996-2000 10
2 EDA Funds: Comparison of OEDP/CEDS Applications and EDA Grant 11
3 Location of EDA-funded Projects 12
4 Annual Average Resident Employment in Host Communities 15
5 Annual Average Establishment Employment in Host Communities 17
6 Direct Employment Generated by EDA-funded Projects, 1996-2000 18
7 Average Employment and Wages in Affected Industries, 1995-2002 21
8 Employment Multiplier Effects of EDA-funded Projects, 1996-2000 24
9 Construction Multiplier Effects of EDA-funded Projects, 1996-2000 25
10 Project Ranking and Performance 27
LIST OF FIGURES
1 Average Annual Wages in Affected Industries 22
Under a planning grant obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce,
Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Statewide Planning Program
prepares and maintains Rhode Island’s Comprehensive Economic Development
Strategy (CEDS). The CEDS is intended to link state and federal policy with
local economic development. The CEDS consists of goals and implementation
mechanisms based on the primary economic development element in the State
Guide Plan, the Economic Development Policies and Plan. The EDA takes an
active role supporting Rhode Island’s CEDS, not only by providing financial
assistance through the grant, but by reviewing and approving annual reports,
evaluations, and program updates connected with the CEDS.
Central to the CEDS is the project solicitation Statewide Planning
conducts each year to develop the Priority Project List. The proposals received
are reviewed and scored according to several specific criteria ((1)). These
criteria are designed to select proposals that will help implement the Economic
Development Policies and Plan as well as meet basic EDA eligibility
requirements. Those that score well are placed on the Priority Project List.
Statewide Planning considers the proposals chosen for the list to be good
candidates for the EDA’s public works grants or other types of assistance.
Having a proposal placed on the Priority Project List is only provisional
approval. An EDA-mandated CEDS Committee must review, confirm and
endorse the list. In Rhode Island, the CEDS Committee has three tiers: the State
Planning Council, its Technical Committee, and a CEDS Subcommittee drawn
from members of the Technical Committee and local economic development
practitioners. When the Priority Project List is presented to the EDA in the CEDS
annual report, the approval of the CEDS Committee must be documented. Such
approval indicates to the EDA that the projects have been endorsed at the state
level and are consistent with the CEDS.
Approval is still “provisional” or “conditional” at this point, and project
proponents must request funding from the EDA and be invited to apply.
However, placement on the Priority Project List is key to further action by the
EDA. For the EDA, the list represents an important “first cut” in the grant
approval process. Making the list is, in practice, the first step in submitting a
successful application to the EDA.
As the EDA will subject each proposal to a rigorous review beyond what is
required under the CEDS, not every project on the Priority Project List will
ultimately win EDA funding, but every project winning that funding will have been
on the list.
Statewide Planning’s review and the need for follow-up
At the end of the CEDS project solicitation period, Statewide Planning
reviews the proposals to make sure they satisfy certain threshold requirements
such as consistency with the State Guide Plan. Then the projects are scored,
giving proposals additional credit for generating well-paying jobs, being located in
areas of economic distress, and having solid commitments of matching funds
and private investment. This conforms to basic eligibility requirements ((2)),
investment guidelines and other means the EDA uses to screen the proposals it
receives for funding.
Until now there has not been a review of the program spanning several
years to gauge the success of Rhode Island’s CEDS in selecting projects that
ultimately will prove attractive to the EDA. While we frequently revisit the scoring
criteria to keep them in line with state and federal policy, Rhode Island’s
experience has been that, of the twenty or more proposals making the Priority
Project List each year, only two or three of them at most get funded. What are
the reasons for this?
Some successful CEDS applicants do not carry their proposals to the next
step, a request for funding from the EDA. They may have not secured
anticipated matching funds, been unable to acquire clear title to property,
required further study, or had other reasons to postpone their request. We have
tried to address this issue by disallowing these proposals from being submitted
again, unless some contact has been made with the EDA to advance the
proposal. This policy went into effect with the 2003 project solicitation.
Others unsuccessful in obtaining funding may have submitted concept
papers to the EDA describing their projects, only to be informed that they failed to
meet eligibility requirements ((3)). Still others may have had their projects judged
less “competitive” for the limited EDA funding than other projects in other parts of
the country. These outcomes are discouraging not only for the applicants, but for
the staff overseeing the CEDS. Understanding that the CEDS serves as the
initial screen for funding eligibility, we need to examine whether the CEDS
scoring criteria are up to the job of selecting good (i.e., fundable) projects – and,
more fundamentally, whether the state’s goals in the CEDS are eclipsing or
conflicting with what the EDA is emphasizing during a given grant period.
Another issue is the “disconnect” once the priority list is finalized and sent
to the EDA. At that point Statewide Planning essentially leaves the process,
except if contacted by project proponents for assistance in putting together their
applications to the EDA. Projects are funded, completed and open for business
with little or no follow-up either with or by Statewide Planning. The evidence we
glean of economic benefit from the projects is largely anecdotal, or inferred from
employment statistics from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training (DLT).
Without a reliable reading of project outcomes important to the EDA,
particularly job creation, we may be missing insights that could lead to
improvements in the CEDS – in the strategy itself, and in the criteria we use to
score projects. This includes fashioning priority lists with more competitive
projects (from the EDA’s standpoint), and getting more projects funded as a
result. The relatively small number of projects that get funded from our priority
lists may be speaking to this problem.
This is not considered a criticism per se of the project proponents, the
EDA, or for that matter Statewide Planning. In hindsight, this agency should
have pursued this information more actively. We have done so now with the
hope that it will indicate what we have done right with the CEDS, and what needs
Focus of our research
In 2002, the Rhode Island College Center for Public Policy applied for a
capacity building grant from the EDA to conduct a comprehensive review of all
EDA-funded projects in Rhode Island, from 1965 to 2001. The intention was to
determine how well the projects performed in terms of job creation, economic
partnership creation, leveraging additional funding, and other indicators of
success. One product of this research was to be a performance measures
handbook for guiding future projects and scoring criteria under the CEDS.
Statewide Planning was to contribute to this effort, providing access to files and
reports, advice, institutional memory, and other assistance including review as
requested by the Center. That project, unfortunately, was not funded by the
EDA, and the answers we anticipated from it were not forthcoming.
The aim of this technical paper is to initiate and complete what was to be
the Center for Public Policy’s task, though more modestly. We wanted to
determine whether the economic benefit anticipated from EDA-funded projects
was actually obtained – employment at decent wages in economically distressed
areas, with a strong commitment from local officials and the private sector. We
also wanted to see how well the process worked in soliciting and selecting
projects likely to be funded by the EDA. Our methods included examination of
data from the DLT, conversations with project proponents, and a review of past
project solicitations to see how well the funded projects scored relative to other
proposals. If this research shows that improvements in the program are needed,
the intention will be to concentrate that effort on the aspect most obvious to
applicants and reviewers, the CEDS Priority Project Rating System that includes
the scoring criteria.
Reference is made in this report to the OEDP (Overall Economic
Development Program). This was the predecessor of the CEDS, the name
change effective from 1999. Most of the projects in our survey began as OEDP
applications, subject to threshold and scoring criteria in the same manner as
more recent CEDS projects. For the purposes of this paper, the acronyms
OEDP and CEDS are interchangeable.
SELECTION OF PROJECTS FOR REVIEW
Unlike the Center for Public Policy, we limited our project review to the
five-year period 1996 to 2000. The years 1996 to 2000 were selected to allow for
project completion and measurable results, including the commitment of funds
from non-federal sources (including private funds), job generation, and spin-off
activity. The period pertains to federal fiscal years, not calendar years; i.e.,
“1996” for the purposes of our discussion runs from October 1, 1995 to
September 30, 1996, “1997” from October 1, 1996 to September 30, 1997, etc.
During that time, the EDA awarded grants to the following projects in
• Providence Performing Arts Center Expansion, Providence (1996)
• Heritage Harbor (Rhode Island Heritage Museum), Providence (1997)
• Bulkhead Replacement, Port of Davisville, North Kingstown (1997)
• Halsey Street Industrial Park Expansion, Newport (1998)
• Gorham Site Redevelopment, Providence (1998)
• Cranston Street Armory, Providence (1999)
• Pier 2 Structural Repairs, Port of Davisville, North Kingstown (1999)
• Ladd Center Infrastructure, Exeter (1999)
• Narragansett Brewery Redevelopment, Cranston (2000)
• Stadium Theater Restoration, Woonsocket (2000)
The Cranston Street Armory was excluded from this review. Although the
work funded by the EDA grant was completed, the building will now be placed in
a different use than was originally proposed. It is not yet occupied, so a direct
economic impact (specifically job generation) cannot be demonstrated. Reuse
plans are still under discussion, and may eventually be expanded to include
neighborhood groups seeking a space for their activities. On the other hand, all
of the other projects have created or retained jobs, the number of which has
been documented by the applicants or developers.
The applicants sponsoring these projects included the City of Providence
(Performing Arts Center Expansion, Heritage Harbor, and Gorham Site
Redevelopment), the City of Newport (Halsey Street Industrial Park Expansion),
the City of Cranston (Narragansett Brewery Redevelopment), and the City of
Woonsocket (Stadium Theater Restoration). The R.I. Economic Development
Corporation proposed the Davisville Bulkhead Replacement, Pier 2 Structural
Repairs, and, as partners with the Central Rhode Island Development
Corporation, the Ladd Center Infrastructure project ((4)).
We contacted the applicants for information regarding new and retained
jobs. The remainder of the data on economic impact was obtained from the R.I.
Department of Labor and Training, from the original CEDS and OEDP files, and
from the Public Works Division at the EDA. These sources are credited as
appropriate throughout this report.
ASSESSMENT OF THE OEDP/CEDS PROCESS
The primary economic development element of the State Guide Plan, the
Economic Development Policies and Plan, lays the groundwork for actions that
address the development of industries with high potential, employment
enhancement and job training, public and private investment, industrial sites and
infrastructure, economic and cultural diversity, and many other topics. First
through Rhode Island’s OEDP and then the CEDS, planners and practitioners in
the public and private non-profit sectors – at the state, regional, and local levels –
are encouraged to submit creative project proposals that implement their own
economic development strategies, as well as the Plan’s long-term objectives.
The criteria developed for the CEDS Priority Project Rating System
address specific needs identified in the Economic Development Policies and Plan
as well as issues that must be addressed to ensure consistency with other
elements of the State Guide Plan. The State Planning Council and Technical
Committee must approve any changes to the criteria proposed by the CEDS
Subcommittee before they can be applied in the next project solicitation.
We require that CEDS applicants identify a specific objective or policy
from the Policies and Plan that their project proposals will help implement. Then,
we use the Priority Project Rating System to award points based on where we
want to focus development, on the projects’ impacts on employment and wealth
generation, on the commitment of other funding sources to the projects, and on
the economic programs we hope to tap. For example, one criterion in the Rating
System assesses how many permanent, non-construction jobs are to be
generated per EDA dollar invested – and what the anticipated wages will be.
Another determines the amount and source of non-federal support the applicants
are committing to the project and awards points accordingly.
The CEDS Committee continuously refines and revises the Rating System
criteria so that projects selected for the Priority List reflect and effectively
implement the state’s economic development objectives as outlined in the CEDS
5 Year Update and the Annual Reports.
The jobs created as a result of EDA’s investments should provide higherthan-average
wages in distressed communities and should promote regional
prosperity. Applicants should commit a high level of non-federal matching funds,
including private investment. This will indicate a higher level of commitment to
successful completion by the public sector and higher market-based credibility by
the private sector.
This study seeks to determine whether the economic benefit anticipated
from EDA-funded projects was actually obtained: employment at decent wages in
economically distressed areas, with a strong commitment from local officials and
the private sector. We also wanted to determine how well the CEDS process is
working in soliciting and selecting projects likely to be funded by the EDA.
Based on what we learn from this study, we may determine that the
Priority Project Rating System requires further revision. This could mean
adjusting the point scales for the criteria, adding new criteria, or eliminating
criteria that did not prove effective. The following questions were posed.
Question 1: How high did the projects funded by the EDA score relative to
other OEDP or CEDS proposals that year?
Of the nine projects under analysis, three scored in the top ten percent in
their respective years. The Stadium Theater Restoration project in Woonsocket
placed first among 30 project proposals submitted in 1999. In 1998, the
RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center project placed second among 36 proposals. In
1997, the Providence Gorham Site Redevelopment project placed fourth among
Standings within the top ten percent were not consistent in other projects
that won EDA funding, however. The RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement project was
eleventh out of 81 projects proposed in 1996, placing it in the top 20 percent for
that year. Also in 1996, the Providence Heritage Harbor Museum project ranked
thirty-second, only within the top 40 percent.
In 1998, the RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs project was eighth among 36
proposals, placing it in the upper 25 percent for that year. In 1995, the
Providence/PPAC project (the only proposal funded that year) was twenty-third
among 67 proposals, or in the upper 35 percent.
The lowest ranking project was the Newport/Halsey Street Industrial Park
Expansion, which was seventeenth among 41 proposals, placing it only as high
as the top 42 percent for 1997 ((5)). (See Table 1.)
Question 2: On what criteria did the projects score the most points?
Some projects received the maximum scores for more than one criterion
in the Priority Project Rating System. Others may have received less than the
maximum scores, but had their high scores (where they received the most
points) distributed among two or three criteria. The three criteria giving most of
the projects in our survey their highest number of points were jobs, funds, and
The jobs criterion score was based on the number of long-range jobs
anticipated from the project. Also included in the score were areas where points
were deducted: if the estimate of job stimulation was not documented, or if the
applicant indicated that the project would not be initiated within two years.
The funding criterion measured the financial commitment (in non-federal
funds, i.e., local, state or private) to the project. It is an indicator of the
applicant’s ability to initiate the project in a timely manner and the ability of the
project to leverage additional investment. It also awarded additional points to
applicants able to commit non-federal funds greater than fifty percent (50%) of
total project costs.
The income criterion was based on median family income within the host
municipality, favoring those communities with the lowest medians ((6)).
Six projects received high scores under the jobs criterion:
RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement, Newport/Halsey Street Industrial Park
Expansion, Providence/Gorham Site Redevelopment, RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural
Repairs, RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center, and Cranston/Narragansett Brewery
Five projects received high scores under the funding criterion:
Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum, Newport/Halsey Street Industrial Park
Expansion, Providence/Gorham Site Redevelopment, Cranston/Narragansett
Brewery Redevelopment, and Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restoration.
Four projects received high scores for the income criterion: Providence/
PPAC, Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum, and Newport/ Halsey Street
Industrial Park Expansion and Providence/Gorham Site Redevelopment. (See
Question 3: How did the EDA funds awarded actually compare with the
amount on the OEDP or CEDS application?
Only one of the nine projects in this study, Cranston/Narragansett Brewery
Redevelopment, received the exact amount of EDA funding proposed in its
CEDS or OEDP application. Other projects, with the exception of
RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center and Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restoration,
received considerably less.
In descending order, Newport/Halsey Street Industrial Park Expansion,
received 56 percent of the amount in its OEDP application, Providence/Gorham
Site Redevelopment received 43 percent, and RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs
received 40 percent, followed by Providence/PPAC, Providence/Heritage Harbor
Museum and RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement, each receiving 33 percent.
OEDP/CEDS PROJECTS IN RHODE ISLAND FUNDED BY THE EDA, 1996-2000
Scoring criteria Sources of Med. family % state med.
rank w/highest scores non-federal $ income, $* family income
Providence/PPAC #23/67 area/income private 28,342 72.4
Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum #32/81 income/funds state, private 28,342 72.4
RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement #11/81 jobs/env. state 46,736 119.3
Newport/Halsey St. Ind. Park Expansion #17/41 jobs/income/funds private 37,427 95.5
Providence/Gorham Site Redev. #4/41 funds/jobs/income local, private 28,342 72.4
RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs #8/36 jobs/area state 46,736 119.3
RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center #2/36 jobs/area state, private 40,853 104.3
Cranston/Narragansett Brewery Redev. #8/30 jobs/funds/env. state, local, private 41,896 106.9
Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restor. #1/30 funds/env./studies local, private 31,659 80.8
* 1990 Census, collected 1989. State median = $39,172
Source: Overall Economic Development Program (OEDP) and Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy (CEDS) applications
The Ladd Center project was awarded $2,000,000 from the EDA, an
increase of 67 percent over its OEDP request. Woonsocket’s Stadium Theater
Restoration was awarded $450,000, an increase of 29 percent over its CEDS
request. (See Table 2.)
COMPARISON OF OEDP/CEDS APPLICATIONS AND EDA GRANT AWARDS
EDA $, OEDP or
Providence/PPAC 3,000,000 1,000,000
RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement 2,446,000 800,000
Newport/Halsey St. Ind. Park
Providence/Gorham Site Redev. 2,000,000 864,900
RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs 2,472,000 1,000,000
RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center 1,200,000 2,000,000
Total 15,718,000 8,255,400
Source: Overall Economic Development Program (OEDP) and Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy (CEDS) applications, 1995-1999, and U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economic
Development Administration, Public Works Division
Question 4: How many projects had a share of the match from private
Seven out of the nine projects under study (78 percent) had funding
committed from private sources. They were Providence/PPAC, Providence/
Heritage Harbor Museum, Newport/Halsey Street Industrial Park Expansion,
Providence/Gorham Site Redevelopment, RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center,
Cranston/Narragansett Brewery Redevelopment, and Woonsocket/Stadium
Theater. (See Table 1.)
Question 5: Where were the projects located?
The projects under review were located in Providence, Cranston, North
Kingstown, Exeter, Newport and Woonsocket, and were in an Enterprise Zone or
an area of low median family income, or within the “built environment” in these
communities. (See Table 3.)
LOCATION OF EDA-FUNDED PROJECTS
Municipality Applicant/Project Location
Providence Providence/PPAC Enterprise Zone, low income, built
Providence Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum Enterprise Zone, low income, built
environment (former power house)
North Kingstown RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement Built environment (Quonset
Newport/Halsey St. Ind. Park
Low income, built environment
Providence Providence/Gorham Site Redev. Enterprise Zone, low income, built
environment (former factory site)
North Kingstown RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs Built environment (Quonset
Exeter RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center Built environment (former Ladd
Enterprise Zone, low income, built
environment (former brewery site)
Woonsocket Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restor. Enterprise Zone, low income, built
Source: OEDP/CEDS applications, 1995-1999
Three of the funded projects were located in Providence:
Providence/PPAC, Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum, and Providence/
Gorham Site Redevelopment.
Two of the projects were located in North Kingstown: RIEDC/Bulkhead
Replacement and RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs.
One project each was located in Newport (Newport/Halsey Street
Industrial Park Redevelopment), Exeter (RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center),
Cranston (Cranston/Narragansett Brewery Redevelopment), and Woonsocket
The overall project score obtained from the Priority Project Rating System
is largely irrelevant in predicting which projects will be funded by the EDA. While
the score is important in determining whether a project will be on the Priority
Project List (it must attain the median score among all project proposals or
better), our survey shows that a project may be funded if it is at the very top of
the priority list, or if it scores only within the top 40 percent of all the projects
However, certain scoring criteria used in the Rhode Island CEDS and
OEDP seem important to the EDA, as evidenced by high scores under the
following criteria being common to many of the projects gaining funding: jobs,
funds, and income.
The amount of funds sought from the EDA in the OEDP and CEDS
applications generally runs significantly higher than what is eventually granted.
With only one exception, EDA funding appeared capped at $1,000,000.
Evidence of matching funds drawn at least partly from private sources also
is important to the EDA. Only two projects in our survey did not have private
sector investment; both were located at the state-owned Port of Davisville, and
the match came solely from the state.
The Priority Project Rating System’s locational criteria, which are intended
to direct development toward economically distressed areas, seem to select
projects well. All projects in our survey were located within the built environment,
much of which has suffered from disinvestment as manufacturing and other jobs
moved overseas. Six of the nine projects were located in areas with low median
family incomes relative to the rest of the state, five in Enterprise Zones, and three
in areas designed to be regional centers (Quonset Davisville and Ladd Center).
PROJECT PERFORMANCE, ONCE FUNDED AND IMPLEMENTED
After receiving EDA funding and being implemented, how well did the
projects in our survey perform? The CEDS staff contacted project proponents
and consulted community employment and wage data from the R.I. Department
of Labor and Training (DLT). We needed to know:
• Did community (i.e., municipal) employment figures improve?
• What was the contribution of each project?
• How does this compare with figures anticipated from the OEDP and CEDS
• What was the impact of the project on wages?
• Has the project promoted other development?
Answers to these questions along with the trends we observed in Part
Three would answer questions about the CEDS itself. Does the program select
projects that reasonably fulfill their job generation goals? Does the program,
through the projects it selects, contribute to a general rise in employment and
wage levels? Do these projects perform up to expectations once they are
implemented? Are changes needed in the program?
Did community employment figures improve?
What was the contribution of each project?
To gain some measure of the impact of each project on local employment,
the staff compared the number of jobs reported by the projects’ proponents to
resident employment data for the corresponding years collected by the DLT.
We tracked changes in employment from the year of each project’s
funding (“project inception”) to 2003, presuming that, with administrative and
construction schedules, a project would not be completed and would not begin
generating long-term jobs until at least the year following funding ((7)). Under
this assumption, the project that was first in our survey chronologically – the
Providence Performing Arts Center Expansion – would begin hiring in 1997; the
last in our survey, the Narragansett Brewery Redevelopment and the Stadium
Theater Restoration, would begin in 2001.
We found that resident employment grew in the host communities from
1997 through 2003. This continued an upward trend dating back at least to
1995. (See Table 4.) Growth directly attributable to the projects ranged from
very modest to significant – eight jobs in Woonsocket for one, to more than 400
jobs in Cranston for another. In North Kingstown, employment from two
ANNUAL AVERAGE RESIDENT EMPLOYMENT IN HOST COMMUNITIES
Municipality Change from # jobs reported
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 project inception from projects
Cranston 34,875 36,238 36,985 37,565 38,483 38,459 38,396 38,802 40,089 1,630 415
Exeter 2,876 3,038 3,156 3,109 3,230 3,027 3,038 3,090 3,192 -38 0
N. Kingstown 12,808 13,525 14,032 14,278 17,650 13,859 13,826 13,992 14,456 424 246
Newport 10,543 11,214 11,801 11,539 12,156 13,250 13,419 13,469 13,990 2,451 0
Providence 64,460 66,804 68,102 67,770 69,067 75,580 75,188 75,575 78,082 11,278 339
Woonsocket 18,583 19,273 19,502 19,698 20,082 19,806 19,716 19,841 20,500 694 8
State of RI 470,985 491,551 503,885 505,132 519,216 520,253 520,337 525,157 542,798 51,247 1,008
Source: RIDLT, Annual Average Labor Force Statistics for Sub-state Areas, not seasonally adjusted, http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/laus/town/town.htm
projects in the Quonset Davisville industrial park may have helped offset resident
job losses from 1999 to 2001.
Altogether, the projects we surveyed generated 1,008 direct jobs from
1997, the year the first project would have begun hiring, to 2003, compared to a
statewide growth in resident employment of 51,247.
While the projects no doubt employed local residents, the staff
acknowledged that employment opportunities at project sites were not limited to
workers from the host city or town. We concluded that establishment
employment data might give a more accurate impression of a project’s economic
impact. The staff examined establishment employment data with the same
comparisons and assumptions used for resident employment. The source of
these data again was the DLT, although in this instance data were available only
through 2002 and included only private sector employment. The latter was
presumed not to be a problem, as the jobs reported by the projects’ proponents
were limited to the private sector.
The data show that two communities – Providence and Woonsocket –
registered citywide losses in establishment employment at the time the
OEDP/CEDS projects were being implemented. North Kingstown, which
registered losses in resident employment from 1999 to 2001, experienced a
growth in establishment employment from 1996 through 2002. The two
Davisville projects funded during this period contributed 246 jobs to the town’s
total growth, 3,068, or about eight percent. (See Tables 5 and 6.)
Statewide, establishment employment grew by 23,244 from 1997 to 2002.
The 1,008 jobs contributed by the projects amount to 4.3 percent of this total.
How do the actual job generation figures compare with those anticipated
from the OEDP and CEDS applications?
In all but one case the number of jobs generated by the projects surveyed
were lower than the OEDP or CEDS estimates. (See Table 6, second page
following.) However, in spite of the grants being officially concluded, many of the
projects are still in various stages of development so the results are incomplete.
• The Gorham Site Redevelopment is expected to add 140 jobs when the
new Providence YMCA is completed and staffed ((8)).
• Expansion of the new Katherine Gibbs School located at the site of the
ANNUAL AVERAGE ESTABLISHMENT EMPLOYMENT IN HOST COMMUNITIES
Municipality Change from # jobs reported
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 project inception from projects
Cranston 25,188 25,666 26,710 26,651 27,578 28,343 28,224 28,416 73 415
Exeter 676 727 723 729 757 786 767 836 79 0
N. Kingstown 9,093 8,344 8,691 9,435 9,785 9,941 10,362 11,412 2,721 246
Newport 11,657 12,145 12,189 11,975 11,950 12,397 13,084 12,674 699 0
Providence 99,863 99,400 99,227 99,490 99,792 102,111 101,026 97,381 -2,019 339
Woonsocket 13,345 13,588 13,413 13,725 13,290 13,155 13,363 13,254 99 8
State of RI 373,962 374,685 380,835 387,796 395,670 404,720 405,051 404,079 29,394 1,008
Source: RIDLT, Annual Average Private Sector Employment by City & Town, A Decade of Change in Rhode Island: An Analysis of Private
Sector Employment in the Ocean State, 1992-2002
DIRECT EMPLOYMENT GENERATED BY EDA-FUNDED PROJECTS, 1996-2000
Applicant/Project EDA funds # jobs # jobs EDA $/job Notes
awarded, $ expected generated
Providence/PPAC 1,000,000 20 127 7,874 56 additional indirect/induced jobs confirmed by independent study
Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum 1,000,000 500 19 52,632 Museum not yet open; jobs administrative
RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement 800,000 300 123 6,504 With Pier 2 project, considers total Davisville employment of 269
Newport/Halsey St. Ind. Park Expansion 140,500 60 0 N/A No new jobs as result of project, but 256 jobs retained at park
Providence/Gorham Site Redev. 864,900 2,000 193 4,481 YMCA to be built on site expected to add 140 jobs
RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs 1,000,000 350 123 8,130 With bulkhead project, considers total Davisville employment of 269
RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center 2,000,000 500 0 N/A 100-105 employees expected at Job Corps site, only tenant so far
Cranston/Narragansett Brewery Redev. 1,000,000 1,000 415 2,410 Further development of site anticipated
Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restor. 450,000 17 8 56,250 One (1) additional job retained as result of project
Total 8,255,400 4,747 1,008 8,190
All employment figures current to 2003. Jobs expected or generated do not include indirect and induced employment (multiplier effects).
Sources: Kathryn Calnan, Providence Performing Arts Center; Roberta Bell Hourigan, Heritage Harbor Museum; Nancy Carrott, RIEDC; Alan Goodwin, City of Newport;
Michael Lepore, City of Providence; Linda Soderberg, RI Dept. of Labor & Training; David Maher, City of Cranston; Joel Mathews, City of Woonsocket
Narragansett Brewery Redevelopment will add administrative and
professional employment. The school currently accounts for about 25
percent of the 415 jobs associated with the redevelopment. That site also
includes a former trolley barn with renovation and reuse potential,
although to date nothing definite has been proposed ((9)).
• The Ladd Center’s redevelopment has proceeded as far as the
construction of a Jobs Corps training facility that will support 100 to 105
full-time positions (instructors and administrative staff), according to the
latest estimates. The facility will open in the fall of 2004 ((10)).
• The Heritage Harbor Museum completed the exterior repairs covered in
their work program under the grant. The Museum, however, has not yet
opened to the public, though it has sponsored traveling exhibits with
others, such as the Smithsonian Institution. Current employment at the
Museum consists of a relatively small crew of administrative personnel
• The Halsey Street Industrial Park Expansion project led to the construction
of a new road providing access to what was essentially a stranded piece
of property that the City of Newport was, and still is, looking to develop.
The anticipated expansion of the industrial park, the Tradesmen Center,
onto that property did not occur, however, so no new jobs could be
reported to the EDA. On the other hand, the project did result in improved
highway access for the Tradesmen Center and a re-directing of
commercial traffic away from a residential area, arguably ensuring the
survival of the Tradesmen Center as an industrial park and the retention of
256 jobs there ((12)).
A total of $8,255,400 of EDA funding was awarded to the nine projects we
reviewed ((13)). Of the 4,747 jobs anticipated in the CEDS applications, as of
2003 the projects had generated only 1,008 jobs. This is an average of $8,190
per job ((14)). (See Table 6.)
What was the impact of the projects on wages?
Review of average private-sector wages in Rhode Island from 1995 to
2002 shows a significant trend upward — from $25,269 to $33,226, an increase
of 31.5% ((15)).
To determine whether the projects had an impact on the statewide allindustry
average from the employment and wages they supported, the staff
identified the affected industries by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code
and tabulated wages reported by the DLT for those codes. It was presumed that
the wages generated by the projects were equivalent to the average wages
reported in these industries, ignoring the likelihood that new workers would be
paid starting wages for that industry. (Those rates were not available.)
Table 7 shows employment and wages by SIC code over the eight-year
period. These data are plotted in Figure 1, second page following. The wage
numbers were not adjusted for inflation.
The data show that most of the SIC categories connected with the projects
paid wages that were lower than the average for private-sector wages in Rhode
Island (the “all-industry” average). Employment derived from the projects might
therefore be expected to depress the all-industry average, the decrease being
noticed in the sample period.
From 1995 to 2002, however, the all-industry average tracked consistently
upward, virtually in a straight line, the slope of that line apparently unaffected as
the projects began hiring (Figure 1). This indicated that the overall impact of
project-generated wages on the all-industry average wage was negligible,
certainly never sufficient to cause a decrease in that average.
Apparently wages in all the affected SIC categories tended upward. Some
industries showed more dramatic wage growth than others. Some industries
tracked consistently upward, like the all-industry average, while others had
instances of growth and decline. The declines and “flat spots” did not affect the
long-term trend of the all-industry average.
None of these trends could be correlated with the inception and
implementation of any of the nine projects in our survey.
Have the projects promoted other development?
Economic multipliers have been ignored to this point. Practitioners
routinely use multipliers to determine the full impact of a project on the state’s
economic output, household earnings and employment. This is one means of
estimating the extent to which the project will promote other development.
The multipliers derived from the Department of Commerce’s Regional
Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS) are specific to each state, and to each
industrial group represented in the state. Many Rhode Island practitioners are
familiar with the RIMS model and use it for economic analysis. One set of RIMS
multipliers can be used to determine the indirect and induced employment
resulting from jobs established at a project site (direct effect); another set will
calculate additions to household earnings and employment from the cost of the
project in dollars (final demand) ((16)).
AVERAGE EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES IN AFFECTED INDUSTRIES, 1995-2002
Year SIC code Description Employment Avg. ann. wage Projects funded (w/related SIC)
1995 Total All private sector industries 373,963 $25,269
17 Special trade contractors 8,490 $28,750
449 Services incidental to water transportation 438 $26,050
59 Miscellaneous retail 13,063 $20,226
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 501 $14,303
824 Vocational schools 315 $20,298
841 Museums and art galleries 438 $13,568
1996 Total All private sector industries 374,685 $26,124
17 Special trade contractors 8,750 $29,722
449 Services incidental to water transportation 465 $26,826
59 Miscellaneous retail 13,000 $21,117
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 513 $14,519 Expansion of PPAC
824 Vocational schools 321 $22,248
841 Museums and art galleries 444 $13,749
1997 Total All private sector industries 380,835 $27,473
17 Special trade contractors 9,451 $31,537
449 Services incidental to water transportation 489 $28,221 Bulkhead Replacement
59 Miscellaneous retail 13,507 $21,744
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 568 $15,117
824 Vocational schools 345 $22,270
841 Museums and art galleries 458 $14,461 Heritage Harbor Museum
1998 Total All private sector industries 387,791 $28,948
17 Special trade contractors 10,238 $32,988 Halsey St. Ind. Park Expansion
449 Services incidental to water transportation 521 $26,891
59 Miscellaneous retail 13,907 $23,329 Gorham Site Redevelopment
824 Vocational schools 343 $24,397
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 574 $16,620
841 Museums and art galleries 487 $14,938
1999 Total All private sector industries 395,670 $29,902
17 Special trade contractors 11,684 $35,721
449 Services incidental to water transportation 510 $28,025 Pier 2 Structural Repairs
59 Miscellaneous retail 15,118 $24,788
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 673 $15,410
824 Vocational schools 366 $27,016
841 Museums and art galleries 594 $15,849
2000 Total All private sector industries 404,720 $31,209
17 Special trade contractors 12,277 $37,934
449 Services incidental to water transportation 567 $27,405
59 Miscellaneous retail 16,041 $30,173 Narragansett Brewery Redev.
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 748 $15,955 Stadium Theater Restoration
824 Vocational schools 387 $29,514 Narragansett Brewery Redev.
841 Museums and art galleries 614 $17,325
2001 Total All private sector industries 404,970 $32,186
17 Special trade contractors 12,576 $39,180
449 Services incidental to water transportation 597 $29,532
59 Miscellaneous retail 16,488 $28,124
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 764 $16,408
824 Vocational schools 388 $30,144
841 Museums and art galleries 690 $17,122
2002 Total All private sector industries 404,079 $33,226
17 Special trade contractors 12,591 $39,855
449 Services incidental to water transportation 616 $30,819
59 Miscellaneous retail 16,390 $27,073
792 Theatrical producers, bands… 844 $17,434
824 Vocational schools 358 $30,122
841 Museums and art galleries 652 $18,889
Source: RIDLT, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (ES-202),
AVERAGE ANNUAL WAGES IN AFFECTED INDUSTRIES
Avg. annual wages
Special trade contractors
Water transp. services
Museums & art galleries
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Source: RIDLT, http://www.dlt.ri.gov
Multiplier effects: Cumulative impact
The EDA has been advised that, overall, the multiplier associated with its
public works projects is about 1.5 ((17)). In other words, for every two direct jobs
created by public works funds another indirect or induced job is created. That
would mean that the 1,008 direct jobs generated by Rhode Island projects
funded from 1996 to 2000 resulted in 504 additional (indirect or induced) jobs:
1,008 direct jobs x 1.5 = 1,512 total R.I. jobs
1,512 total jobs – 1,008 direct jobs = 504 indirect and induced jobs
The qualifier “overall” indicates that this multiplier is a national average.
We concluded that the estimate might understate the impact in Rhode Island. To
test this, we applied the RIMS direct-effect employment multipliers to each of the
projects the EDA funded, identifying their industrial groups and direct
employment first and then calculating the total number of jobs generated. The
results are shown in Table 8. We found that the EDA’s estimate compared quite
favorably with our own, which showed the 1,008 direct jobs resulting in 573
indirect and induced jobs, for a total of 1,581 Rhode Island jobs.
These 1,581 jobs are all post-construction. Construction-related
employment was calculated using the RIMS final-demand multiplier for “new
construction” or “maintenance and repair construction,” depending on the project
(see Table 9, second page following). We found a total of 729 jobs supported as
these nine projects were being built, for a grand total of 2,310 direct, indirect and
induced jobs, construction and post-construction.
Multiplier effects: A case study
One local study using the RIMS model exhaustively explored what
ultimately became an OEDP/EDA project – the Providence Performing Arts
Center Expansion. The CEDS staff used it in this report to document job
generation from this project.
Renovations to the Performing Arts Center were deemed necessary to
restore PPAC, the centerpiece of Providence’s nascent “Arts District,” and to
draw business and activity to an otherwise depressed downtown area. To keep
the theater vital, the project’s proponents concluded it would need to be
expanded to be able to handle popular Broadway shows such as Miss Saigon
and Phantom of the Opera. The Performing Arts Center commissioned the
Corporate Economics Department of Fleet Financial Group to do an economic
analysis of bringing such a show to Providence ((18)).
EMPLOYMENT MULTIPLIER EFFECTS OF EDA-FUNDED PROJECTS, 1996-2000
Applicant/Project # direct jobs Industry group Direct-effect Total # jobs
generated empl. Multiplier generated
Providence/PPAC 127 Amusements 1.4410 183
Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum 19 Misc. services 1.5828 30
RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement 123 Transportation 1.7528 216
Newport/Halsey St. Ind. Park Expansion 0 New construction 2.3568 0
Providence/Gorham Site Redev. 193 Retail trade 1.4900 288
RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs 123 Transportation 1.7528 216
RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center 0 Business services 1.6785 0
Cranston/Narragansett Brewery Redev. 311 Retail trade 1.4900 463
104 Business services 1.6785 175
Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restor. 8 Amusements 1.4410 12
Total 1,008 1,581
All employment figures current to 2003.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Regional Multipliers: A User Handbook for the Regional Input-Output Modeling System
(RIMS II) (1992)
CONSTRUCTION MULTIPLIER EFFECTS OF EDA-FUNDED PROJECTS, 1996-2000
Applicant/Project EDA funds Non-federal Total project Industry group Final-demand Total # jobs
awarded, $ match, $ cost, $ empl. multiplier generated
Providence/PPAC 1,000,000 1,971,538 2,971,538 New construction 30.1 89
Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum 1,000,000 2,780,000 3,780,000 Maintenance/repair 31.3 118
RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement 800,000 476,830 1,276,830 Maintenance/repair 31.3 40
Newport/Halsey St. Ind. Park Expansion 140,500 162,500 303,000 New construction 30.1 9
Providence/Gorham Site Redev. 864,900 834,807 1,699,707 New construction 30.1 51
RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs 1,000,000 1,006,000 2,006,000 Maintenance/repair 31.3 63
RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center 2,000,000 2,800,000 4,800,000 New construction 30.1 144
Cranston/Narragansett Brewery Redev. 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,500,000 New construction 30.1 45
500,000 New construction 30.1 15
Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restor. 450,000 4,450,000 4,900,000 Maintenance/repair 31.3 153
Total 8,255,400 15,481,675 23,737,075 729
All employment figures current to 2003.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Regional Multipliers: A User Handbook for the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) (1992)
Two studies were performed, in 1992 (years before the theater’s
expansion occurred) and 1996. The first study considered a hypothetical sevenweek
run of Phantom. It predicted a total impact of $7,641,782 from ticket
revenues, performers’ and patrons’ expenses, and local employment. According
to the multipliers generated by the RIMS model, this translates to 312 direct,
indirect and induced jobs ((19)).
The second study assessed actual sales and attendance figures when
Phantom played PPAC for six weeks, the number of performers in the company,
and records of spending by the company. The total impact was $4,493,131
((20)), or 183 direct, indirect and induced jobs by the RIMS multipliers.
To calculate direct jobs only, the number from the second study was
divided by the RIMS direct-effect employment multiplier. The result was 127
jobs. These may be considered new jobs as they result from the staging of
Phantom, which would not have been possible without the theater’s expansion.
This compares to the PPAC estimate in its EDA application of 95 jobs retained
plus 75 jobs added by the expansion, and the original CEDS estimate from the
City of Providence of 20 jobs “stimulated.” In this one case, the completed
project outperformed the CEDS estimate by more than 600 percent.
Project solicitations over the years have attracted different numbers of
proposals. During the survey period, the range was 30 (in 1999) to 81 (in 1996).
Every year, the staff determined the median score among the proposals and
used it as a cutoff for that year’s priority list. However, as Part Three of this
paper shows, the projects that were funded by the EDA did not necessarily have
the highest CEDS scores on the list. Moreover, the projects with the highest
CEDS scores did not necessarily turn out to be the highest performing in terms of
jobs and wages. This is shown on Table 10.
The numbers of jobs generated from the nine projects in our survey were
lower than expected, given the estimates submitted with the OEDP and CEDS
applications. One explanation may be that most of the applications – six out of
the nine – did not back up their job estimates with documentation. At least one
applicant based his estimate on the anticipated floor space the project would
occupy and a corresponding “industry standard” for the number of employees per
square foot. The actual project footprint turned out smaller than envisioned and
the job estimate exaggerated.
PROJECT RANKING AND PERFORMANCE
Year in OEDP Year EDA funded Applicant/Project Scoring rank # direct jobs Avg. ann. wage
or CEDS in OEDP/CEDS generated in SIC, 2002*
1995 1996 Providence/PPAC #23/67 projects 127 $17,434
1996 1997 Providence/Heritage Harbor Museum #32/81 projects 19 $18,889
1996 1997 RIEDC/Bulkhead Replacement #11/81 projects 123 $30,819
1997 1998 Newport/Halsey St. Ind. Park Expansion #17/41 projects 0** $39,855
1997 1998 Providence/Gorham Site Redev. #4/41 projects 193 $27,073
1998 1999 RIEDC/Pier 2 Structural Repairs #8/36 projects 123 $30,819
1998 1999 RIEDC/CRIDCO/Ladd Center #2/36 projects 0*** $30,122
1999 2000 Cranston/Narragansett Brewery Redev. #8/30 projects 311 retail $27,073
104 voc. ed. $30,122
1999 2000 Woonsocket/Stadium Theater Restor. #1/30 projects 8 $17,434
* Annual all-industry private sector average, 2002, was $33,226
** No new jobs, but 256 jobs retained in area
*** 100-105 jobs anticipated at Job Corps Center by fall 2004
However, three of the nine projects did provide documentation in the form
of a study, consultant’s report or master plan. These estimates were arguably
the most reasonable, or best possible, at the time. In such cases it is difficult to
fault the applicants for job estimates that later proved inaccurate. Also, we
observed that many of these projects are still in the process of being
implemented (in other words, still hiring). Review of these projects at a later date
may be worthwhile to see if the anticipated numbers are reached.
While the employment gains were less than expected, in at least one city
they apparently helped cushion significant losses in establishment employment.
In Providence, the restoration of the Providence Performing Arts Center, the
establishment of the Heritage Harbor Museum and the redevelopment of the
Gorham site together added 339 direct jobs from 1996 to 2002. During this
period Providence as a whole lost 2,019 jobs. Without the benefit of these
projects, the loss would have been more than 2,350 jobs – about 14 percent
higher – not considering the additional jobs generated by multiplier effects.
In another city, Cranston, a project contributed enough to establishment
employment to turn a citywide loss of jobs into a small gain. The redevelopment
of the Narragansett Brewery site added more than 400 direct jobs at a time when
Cranston as a whole gained only 73 jobs.
The nine projects did not seem to affect trends in average wages in Rhode
Island. In hindsight, negligible impact at so gross a scale as the all-industry
average is logical, given the projects account for 1,008 jobs and the all-industry
average was based on more than 404,000 in 2002.
The wage question appears to be better handled qualitatively – that is,
whether wages generated by OEDP or CEDS projects fall above or below the allindustry
average. As mentioned above, the jobs stimulated by the projects
funded in Rhode Island from 1996 to 2000 were concentrated in SIC codes
typically paying below that average.
The exception is the project that resulted in the extension of Halsey Street
in Newport. While no new jobs were reported for that project, the existing jobs at
the Tradesmen’s Center reside in an SIC category (special trade contractors)
with wages that were not only consistently higher than the all-industry average,
but grew at a greater rate from 1995 to 2002. If we presume that the survival of
the Tradesmen’s Center was attributable to the Halsey Street project, this finding
is a far more desirable outcome than generating jobs that pay below the allindustry
In the years subsequent to our survey, the CEDS Subcommittee added a
category to the jobs criterion that awarded points for projects that would result in
wage scales at least 150 percent higher than the state’s minimum wage. A more
stringent standard could be substituted for minimum wage, for example the
Rhode Island all-industry average for the most recent year for which data are
available. In 2002, according to the DLT, the state’s average wage for covered
employment was $34,781; minimum wage was $12,792.
Promoting other development
The CEDS staff relies on economic multipliers to gauge project impact and
in recent years has asked CEDS applicants to consider multiplier effects in their
job estimates. A table of RIMS multipliers is now supplied in every application
package so that every project can be compared by the same model.
The job numbers reported in this paper are direct employment only,
except where we explicitly state multiplier effects. The spin-off we report
corresponds closely with EDA’s catchall public works multiplier, 1.5 – i.e., one
additional job for every two generated directly by the projects. This suggests
satisfactory but average performance in promoting other development. In total,
the projects were directly responsible for 1,008 Rhode Island jobs, plus 573 that
were indirect or induced (“other development”). This does not count employment
generation during construction, which our numbers show is significant (another
RECOMMENDED CHANGES IN THE CEDS APPLICATION PROCESS
As part of our continuous planning process, the CEDS Committee
continuously refines and revises the project proposal screening criteria so that
the projects selected for the Priority List reflect and effectively implement the
state’s economic development objectives as outlined in the CEDS 5 Year Update
and the annual reports.
Since 1999, the point-based CEDS Priority Project Rating System has
been revised to promote smart growth, focus on redeveloping brownfields and
idled industry facilities, recruit residents of Enterprise Zones to the workforce,
and concentrate on areas with low per capita income. The system also gives
credit to projects that use technologies that reduce consumption of natural
resources or waste streams, or that locate in a national or state historic district or
on a property individually listed on the national or state historic register. Points
will be given if an applicant has contacted the EDA and has been invited to
submit a pre-application, or partnered with other eligible applicants.
In addition, the range of point awards has been reduced under the income
criterion, so that credit is only given for per capita income levels within the EDA’s
threshold requirements. In recognition of the EDA’s Investment Policy
Guidelines and our own economic development objectives, points are awarded to
projects that result in wages well above the state minimum and that build
Applicants are no longer required to assign a priority if they submit more
than one project, and, as a requirement to participate in the CEDS, the
community in which a project is located now must have an approved
The question remains whether the economic benefit anticipated from
EDA-funded projects is obtained – employment at decent wages in economically
distressed areas, with a strong commitment from local officials and the private
sector – in the projects the CEDS selects. We also need to continue evaluating
how well the CEDS process is working in soliciting and selecting projects likely to
be funded by the EDA.
Findings: Funded projects
Nine projects were funded between 1996 and 2000, which is about 1.8
projects a year. Rhode Island’s experience continues to be that, of the twenty or
more proposals making the Priority Project List each year, only two or three at
most are funded. It is unclear if this disappointing number is due to an EDA
funding allocation formula for the amount of money available for Rhode Island, or
if the projects on the priority list not receiving funding fail to address EDA’s
Investment Policy Guidelines to EDA’s satisfaction, or if there is some other
reason, yet to be determined. Only one project in our survey received all of the
funds originally requested; most received considerably less.
1. Determine, to the extent possible, if there is a conflict between the
EDA’s funding selection criteria and the state’s screening criteria.
2. Explore changing the state’s scoring and screening method from a
numeric, short answer format to one based upon narrative project descriptions as
they relate to the criteria we select for project evaluation.
3. Involve the CEDS Subcommittee in the selection of projects to be
included on the priority list to a greater degree than formerly by having the
Subcommittee actually read, compare and evaluate projects pre-selected by staff
and then decide, using professional judgment, which of the pre-selected projects
should be submitted to EDA as the priority list.
4. Encourage regional partnering initiatives among many applicants to
broaden a project’s scope and quality.
5. Encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with the EDA’s
Investment Policy Guidelines before submitting their applications.
Findings: Job generation
This study tracked nine projects funded over a five-year period, 1996-
2000. All of the projects in this study have either created or retained jobs but not
to the extent indicated in their applications. Some of the projects are in various
stages of development, making it difficult to assess their full impacts, especially
in the job generation category. Overall, however, the projects have not met the
job generation numbers projected by the applicants.
1. Track the funded projects over a longer period, perhaps 15 years, to
detect impacts that are not evident over a five-year period (too brief?), or do a
follow-up study of these nine projects in five years.
2. Study the projects on the priority list that did not receive funding during
this five-year study period and determine whether they have been able to be
completed, and if so, what the employment levels are.
3. Study the projects not making the priority list and determine if they
were completed and what their employment levels are. Compare the results of
the three studies.
4. Determine why the applicants are over-estimating the job generation
numbers and make the necessary adjustments to the CEDS application materials
5. Require applicants to submit applications expecting to generate no
less than 50 jobs.
The jobs stimulated by the projects funded in Rhode Island by the EDA
typically were concentrated in industries paying below the all-industry average.
1. Redefine “well-paying” jobs by changing the wage category in the jobs
criterion from a minimum wage-based formula to either a state per capita
income-based, or an all-industry average salary-based, formula.
2. Revise clusters to include those recommended by the R.I. Economic
Development Corporation providing high-skill, high-wage jobs, such as health
and life sciences, high-tech progressive manufacturing, creative advertising and
media, information technology and telecommunications, building trades, and
3. Give applicants additional points if the project includes jobs in highskill,
high-wage ($40,000 per year or greater) clusters.
Although seven of the nine funded projects in our survey scored high on
the private funding criterion, this factor did not contribute significantly to the
projects’ ability to generate the promised number of jobs paying good wages. It
probably helped get the projects selected for EDA funding, showing that this
criterion is necessary, but it is insufficient for augmenting Rhode Island’s
economic development efforts as they relate to the CEDS process.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. See Appendix A for an explanation of the CEDS Priority Project Rating
System, which sets forth the criteria under which projects are scored.
2. The basic eligibility requirements for the EDA’s Public Works and
Development Facilities Grants are as follows (only one need apply):
(1) An unemployment rate at least one percentage point greater than
the national average unemployment rate;
(2) Per capita income that is 80 percent or less of the national
average per capita income;
(3) A special need, as determined by the EDA, arising from actual or
threatened severe unemployment or economic adjustment
problems resulting from changes in economic conditions such as
a. Substantial outmigration or population loss;
c. Military base closures or realignments, defense contractor
reductions-in-force, or Dept. of Energy (USDOE) defenserelated
d. Natural or other major disasters or emergencies;
e. Extraordinary depletion of natural resources;
f. Closure or restructuring of industrial firms, essential to
area economies; or
g. Destructive impacts of foreign trade.
EDA regulations also allow an area that does not meet any of the above
requirements to be eligible for assistance if a substantial direct benefit
(“significant employment opportunities for unemployed, underemployed or
low-income residents”) can be demonstrated to an area that does meet
3. To date, the Rhode Island CEDS has acknowledged the EDA’s eligibility
requirements by favoring, through its scoring criteria, projects located in
Enterprise Zones (which must meet distress criteria reflecting population
loss, unemployment and disinvestment) and in areas with low income.
Projects not meeting these criteria have not been excluded from
participating in the program, however; they have simply achieved lower
scores and may still have qualified for a place on the Priority Project List.
The EDA’s eligibility requirements are not to be confused with the
agency’s Investment Policy Guidelines, which speak to partnerships,
cluster development, private sector involvement, and other factors better
termed “enhancements” to the grant rather than thresholds that must be
met first. The CEDS scoring criteria have more correspondence with the
EDA’s investment guidelines than with the eligibility requirements. This
may explain why some high-scoring projects in the Rhode Island CEDS
were later disqualified by the EDA for not meeting eligibility requirements.
4. The Ladd Center Infrastructure project was completed but the
development of a technology park at the site did not occur as anticipated
in both the CEDS and EDA applications. However, a Jobs Corps training
institute that was to be a tenant of the park is under construction there,
consistent with the original CEDS proposal, and is expected to open in the
summer or fall of 2004.
5. The OEDP/CEDS staff did not, and does not provide project scores and
rankings other than the priority listing to the EDA. By asking this question
we assessed how well our in-house selection criteria (the scoring process)
seemed to correspond with the EDA’s. “Perfect” correspondence would
result in only the top-scoring projects getting funded (i.e., those at least in
the top ten percent), presuming all proponents follow up their CEDS
applications with applications to the EDA. These results suggest the
correspondence was less than perfect, and variable over the years.
6. The jobs criterion has since been revised to add a wage factor. This
considers the average wage of the jobs directly supported by the project in
addition to the number of jobs, and how well these wages compare to (i.e.,
exceed) the state’s minimum wage. Projects leading to direct jobs with
the highest wages are awarded the most points, in theory promoting a
gain in the average Rhode Island wage, industry-wide, through the CEDS.
Another revision that occurred in the years subsequent to when the
projects in our survey were funded changed the income criterion from
median family income to per capita income (PCI), the PCI of the U.S.
Census tract in which the project is located. The CEDS income criterion
now compares directly to the threshold criterion the EDA uses for
screening applications – an income level equal to 80 percent or less of the
national average PCI. In the Priority Project Rating System, projects
located in tracts with the lowest PCIs relative to the national average gain
the most points. These tracts may be located in a municipality that overall
has a median family income higher than the state median. The
neighborhood in which the Cranston/Narragansett Brewery
Redevelopment project is located is one example.
7. The number of jobs reported was the number of new jobs resulting from
the projects, and did not include those generated temporarily during
construction or jobs already existing that were retained. Every reference
to “jobs generated” or “employment generated” pertains to new jobs only.
8. Greater Providence Young Men’s Christian Association, “The New
Providence YMCA, the Village of Promise on Mashapaug Pond,” 2003
CEDS Submission. The figure is for “year 1” and is based on a YMCA
Operations Team analysis dated March 2003.
9. David Maher and Michael DeLuca, personal communication.
10. Linda Soderberg, personal communication.
11. Roberta Bell Hourigan, personal communication.
12. Alan Goodwin, personal communication.
13. For the sake of comparison, in the period June 18-24, 2004, the EDA
announced $3,660,671 in construction grants that were expected to result
in 591 new jobs, a cost of $6,194 per job. These are anticipated jobs, of
course, and actual job generation once the projects are completed may be
lower as we found in our research.
14. Stephen Grady, personal communication.
15. R.I. Department of Labor and Training, A Decade of Change in Rhode
Island: An Analysis of Private Sector Employment in the Ocean State,
1992-2002 (available on-line).
16. U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,
Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Multipliers: A User Handbook for
the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) (Washington, DC:
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992). See Appendix B for a sample
calculation of multiplier effects.
17. Burchell, Robert W., Naveed A. Shad, and William R. Dolphin, Public
Works Program Multipliers and Employment-Generating Effects, EDA
Project No. 99-06-07415 (Washington, DC: Economic Development
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1998).
18. Ciminaro, Gary L., Fleet Financial Group, PPAC Economic Impact
Analysis Estimate (Providence, RI: Fleet Financial Group Corporate
Economics Department, 1992).
19. In the case of the Providence Performing Arts Center, direct jobs would
take in employment at the theater and in the performance company;
indirect jobs would include employment connected with lodging and meals
for the performers, suppliers of lumber and other materials for the sets,
and printers of tickets, programs, and advertising; and induced jobs would
include wait staff at restaurants catering to theater patrons, parking lot
attendants, convenience store employees, etc. These are all included in
the 312 jobs calculated using the RIMS multipliers for the industry group
that includes theaters and live performances – “hotels and lodging places
20. Ciminaro, Gary L., independent economic advisory, May 4, 1996.
SUMMARY OF OEDP/CEDS PRIORITY SYSTEM FOR RANKING PROJECTS,
A. Total System - Maximum Points 170. (Each project ranking criterion is explained in
detail on second page following.)
1. Job Development Points: 25 maximum
Long range job stimulation costs per job are:
a. $1-$15,000 25
b. $15,001-$30,000 15
c. $30,001-$45,000 10
d. $45,001-$60,000 5
e. $60,001 or more 0
If estimate of long range job stimulation is not backed up by a study
or other documentation -- Deduct 5 points
If project will not be initiated within two years -- Deduct 5 points
2. Area of Influence Points: 15 maximum
a. Statewide 15
b. Regional 10
c. Local only 5
3. Environmental Factors Points: 40 maximum
a. Project uses a technology that reduces existing consumption of 15
natural resources and/or reduces existing waste streams in the
production of a good or service.
b. Project results in rehabilitation of brownfield sites or reuse of 15
certified mill buildings.
c. Project contributes to meeting a specific environmental objective 10
listed in an element of the State Guide Plan.
d. Project results in use and/or revitalization of existing built 10
environment or existing infrastructure other than brownfields and
certified mill buildings.
4. Essential Project Studies and Permits Points: 25 maximum
a. All permits obtained, or confirmation obtained from regulatory 15
agencies that no permits are required.
b. Essential project studies completed. 10
c. Applicant has applied for but not yet obtained all necessary 5
d. Applicant has initiated essential project studies. 5
e. Applicant has not applied for permits. 0
f. Applicant has not initiated essential project studies. 0
5. Commitment of Non-Federal Funds Points: 20 maximum
a. Non-federal funds committed or appropriated 10
b. Non-federal funds from private investment 5
c. Non-federal funds exceed fifty percent of project costs 5
d. Non-federal funds not yet available 0
6. Employment of Substate Employment Growth Area Points: 10 maximum
a. Decreases of 8.0 percent or more per year 10
b. Decreases of 6.0-7.9 percent per year 9
c. Decreases of 4.0-5.9 percent per year 8
d. Decreases of 2.0-3.9 percent per year 7
e. Decreases of 0.1-1.9 percent per year 6
f. No change to increase of 1.9 percent per year 5
g. Increases of 2.0-3.9 percent per year 4
h. Increases of 4.0-5.9 percent per year 3
i. Increases of 6.0-7.9 percent per year 2
j. Increases of 8.0 percent or more per year 1
7. Labor Surplus Area Points: 5 maximum
Project is located in a designated labor 5
8. Enterprise Zone Points: 5 maximum
Project is in a state-designated enterprise zone 5
9. Income Points: 15 maximum
a. Less than $27,000 15
b. $27,000 - $32,999 12
c. $33,000 - $35,999 9
d. $36,000 - $38,999 6
e. $39,000 and above 3
10. Applicant’s Priority Points: 5 maximum
a. Priority ranking number 1 5
b. " " " 2 4
c. " " " 3 3
d. " " " 4 2
e. " " " 5 1
f. " " " 6 or below 0
g. No ranking 0
11. Approved Comprehensive Plan Points: 5 maximum
a. Project is located in a city or town whose comprehensive plan 5
has received state certification.
b. Project is located in a city or town whose comprehensive plan 3
has been submitted for state review but not yet received certification.
c. Project located in a city or town that has not yet submitted a 0
comprehensive plan for state review.
B. Explanation of Project Ranking Criteria
1. Job Development Costs
The eventual number of jobs resulting from the implementation of a proposal is a
prime consideration in priority selection. The figures are used to determine a cost per
job. Cost refers to total project cost. “Long range” jobs are those expected once a
facility or project begins operation; do not count construction jobs.
Estimates that are not documented in a study will be penalized by a deduction of 5
points under this criterion. Projects not expected to be initiated within two years will
also incur a 5-point penalty.
2. Area of Influence
This criterion is weighted to favor project proposals having the broadest geographic
significance for economic development. It is anticipated that few project proposals will
receive the 15-point maximum for the category since the bulk of the proposals will be of
local origin with a relatively low prospect for any statewide significance. In fact,
probably very few state-sponsored projects will have this wide- ranging effect.
Definitions of statewide vs. regional significance follow.
Statewide — Having potential for a more geographically universal effect throughout
the entire state and not predominantly affecting only one or a few contiguous
Regional — Having multi-community but not statewide significance.
3. Environmental Factors
The rating method for this criterion rewards applicants whose projects make use of
innovative technologies, such as alternative energy and “closed loop” industrial parks,
that use raw materials more efficiently, and that can reduce consumption of energy,
water, and other natural resources as well as air and water pollution. Of equal weight
under this criterion are those projects that rehabilitate brownfield sites or lead to the
non-residential reuse of certified mill buildings.
Points are also awarded for revitalizing other existing industrial or commercial space
and its associated infrastructure, and for addressing the environmental objectives of the
State Guide Plan.
If credit is claimed under the “brownfields and mill buildings” category, it cannot also
be claimed under the “built environment” category. The “built environment” category is
intended to reward projects not necessarily associated with the R.I. Department of
Environmental Management’s brownfields program or the Enterprise Zone Council’s
certified mill building program, but that follow the same principle of reusing or better
utilizing existing buildings for industrial or commercial purposes rather than developing
If credit is sought for fulfilling an environmental objective in an element of the State
Guide Plan, the specific element and objective/policy must be cited. Refer to the State
Guide Plan Overview for a synopsis of the various elements of the State Guide Plan.
4. Essential Project Studies and Permits
This criterion rewards applicants who have obtained the necessary environmental
permits to initiate the project, or who have confirmed from the relevant regulatory
agencies that no permits are necessary for the project. In addition, this criterion awards
points to those projects with applications supported by essential studies, which are
taken to mean planning, engineering, or any other studies prerequisite to
implementation, excluding environmental assessments. Those projects progressing
reasonably toward completion of these studies and obtaining of permits are also
awarded points in this category.
This system recognizes that any project having a negative environmental effect that
cannot be reasonably mitigated will probably be eliminated from consideration under the
State Guide Plan conformance threshold review, which is part of the CEDS process.
Nevertheless, this threshold review does not constitute the in-depth regulatory review
required for the granting of environmental permits.
5. Commitment of Non-Federal Funds
This criterion measures the financial commitment to the project, the ability to initiate
the project in a timely manner and the ability of the project to leverage additional
6. Employment of Substate Employment Growth Area
This non-project related criterion is weighted to favor project proposals in areas
which are experiencing the poorest job market performance in terms of employment by
place of work. The source for measuring this criterion is the fourth quarter report on
employment by place of work, covered by the Rhode Island Employment Security Act.
Percentages are figured as an increase or decrease in each Substate Employment
Growth Area's percentage change over the previous year's equivalent quarter. Rhode
Island's eight Substate Employment Growth Areas are based upon specific
socioeconomic, cultural and historic relationships as delineated in State Guide Plan
Element 212: Industrial Land Use Plan.
7. Labor Surplus Area
This criterion gives priority preference to projects in those communities that have
been designated as labor surplus areas by the U.S. Department of Labor for the most
current federal fiscal year. Designation is based upon consistently high unemployment
rates and/or other specific “exceptional circumstances.”
8. Enterprise Zones
In keeping with both federal and state policy to direct resources to areas designated
as enterprise zones, this criterion provides preference to those projects specifically
located within an officially designated Rhode Island enterprise zone.
Median family incomes obtained from the 1990 Census (the most recent available)
are divided into five ranges for the cities and towns. Those municipalities within the
lowest ranges receive the highest point awards under this criterion.
10. Applicant's Priority
This criterion carries a potential for five bonus points and allows local discretion and
expertise to be incorporated in the statewide priority ranking system by favoring
proposals of highest local priority as assigned by each submitting municipality or other
sponsor. All sponsors are requested to rank their individual submittals in priority order.
11. Approved Comprehensive Plan
This criterion rewards cities and towns whose comprehensive plans (and, if
applicable, updated comprehensive plans) have received approval from the Director of
the R.I. Department of Administration with the highest number of points.
APPLYING MULTIPLIERS: A SAMPLE CALCULATION
The economic multipliers used in the Rhode Island CEDS to determine the
full impact of projects that are candidates for priority listing come from the
Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS) developed by the U.S.
Department of Commerce. They are of two types, “direct effect” and “final
demand.” The following discussion shows how to apply them in a hypothetical
situation – the construction of a new import/export center in the Port of
According to the RIMS model, the category “new construction” has a
direct-effect employment multiplier of 2.3568, and a final-demand multiplier of
30.1 jobs for every million dollars invested. So, every single job in “new
construction” will yield an additional 1.3568 jobs elsewhere in the economy
(indirect and induced employment). These are the jobs added by suppliers,
distributors, service providers and other producers to meet the increased
demand resulting from the project.
If 84 workers are hired to build the import/export center, the following
impact would be expected on jobs throughout the Rhode Island economy:
84 jobs on site x 2.3568 = 198 total R.I. jobs
These 198 jobs would include the original 84 (direct employment), plus 114
additional jobs in other sectors of the economy (indirect and induced
If the new center cost $6.3 million to build, the impact on employment
during the construction period could be calculated by the final demand method as
$6.3 million in demand x 30.1 jobs/$1 million = 190 total R.I. jobs
Again, the 190 jobs would include direct, indirect and induced employment. The
discrepancy between the numbers of jobs calculated by the two methods is
insignificant and probably due to rounding.
These jobs would be generated until construction was completed. If
planners wanted to estimate direct, indirect and induced employment arising from
the operation of the import/export center, i.e., the post-construction, “long-range”
jobs, they would need to estimate the center’s operating expenses and then
identify the proper final-demand multiplier (in this case, “business services” at
39.7 jobs per $1 million invested).
If the operating expenses amounted to $725,000 in the first year of
$0.725 million in demand x 39.7 jobs/$1 million = 29 total R.I. jobs
These are the direct, indirect and induced jobs that would be supported by the
center that year. It is important to note that these jobs are separate from those
during the construction phase. To estimate the full economic impact of a project,
the jobs generated during construction and those coming afterward should be
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics
Administration, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Multipliers: A User
Handbook for the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II)
(Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992).